Skies over Durban are alive with the roar of aircraft

2009-07-15 00:00

THE skies over Durban are a hive of activity as aircraft start arriving for the Durban Airshow, the biggest in Africa, which takes place this weekend.

While residents have already star­ted hearing the roaring engines of some of the finest aircraft in the world as they practise for the show, organi­sers are putting the final touches to the event which takes place July 11 and 12 at Virginia airport in Durban North.

The show will also have a significant impact on the local economy, bringing in an estimated R18 million to R25 million.

More than 100 aircraft, including the Mirage III CZ, the only one of its type in the world, will participate in the show, which is set to attract thousands of aviation enthusiasts.

The Mirage, known as the “Black Widow”, will attempt to break the sound barrier at the air show.

“Many residents remember the last time, in 1964, when windows were broken when the Mirage went through the sound barrier. We want to assure residents that this will not be the case this year,” said Airshow spokesman Ray de Vries.

The Mirage will be flown by Lieutenant-Colonel Glen Warden, who will conduct a live audio link from the cockpit while flying the aircraft.

“The Mirage will greet spectators at Virginia Airport and then head 30 km out to sea. Once the plane is at 30 000 feet, it will break the sound barrier,” he said.

De Vries said: “The Durban Wings Club, hosts of the show, expects over 100 aircraft to arrive in Durban over the next week, which is certainly going to keep the air traffic controllers busy.”

He said the SA Air Force will perform mock hijackings, which will involve a task force in ground vehicles, the water wing and the air wing.

“For the first time, parachutists from the task force will actually land in the sea just off Virginia airport,” he said.

“We urge the public to purchase tickets from as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

“Our website has all the details and parking advice to help the public have a terrific day of entertainment” said De Vries.

Win 1 of 10 double tickets to the Durban Airshow.

Simply sms “Witness Durban Airshow followed by your name” to 34419. Sms costs R2.00. Competition closes Wednesday, July 8 at 2pm. Terms and conditions apply.

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